Monday 21 January 2019

Hedgestown NS wait continues

Campaign has been ongoing for two decades

Politicians were invited to Hedgestown National School in Lusk to hear about the impact of the ongoing delays in providing a new school
Politicians were invited to Hedgestown National School in Lusk to hear about the impact of the ongoing delays in providing a new school

Fergal Maddock

A two-decade wait by pupils and staff at a Fingal national school continues as frustration mounts over ongoing delays.

Hedgestown National School, has been seeking new accommodation since 1996,

An eight-classroom school was sanctioned by the Department of Education in 2015 with the promise of it being built and ready for occupation by 2018, is still on the drawing board.

Last week the school authorities invited politicians to the school to outline their concerns and frustration at the ongoing delays.

The school is attended by 90 pupils ans has 10 staff, made up of six full-time and one part-time teachers and three Special Needs Assistants.

And while the delay in getting the new school built is not hampering its ability to enrol pupils, parents and staff have been left frustrated at the lack of progress.

Acting principal Colm Lalor told the Fingal Independent that the school has been trying since 1996 to obtain a new building for the children.

'In recent years we have moved through the stages to Detailed Design for an eight classroom school on a new site nearby.

'The progress has been slow and new obstacles regularly seem to be created each time we think we are ready to move on to the tendering process.'

Mr Lalor said they decided to have this meeting at the school 'because we felt we needed to give the parents, staff and whole school community a chance to ask the politicians to help us to ensure no more obstacles are created or presented and no more time is wasted'.

'I must mention the staff, the parents and most importantly the wonderful children we have at the school whose patience has been tested and stretched for 20 plus years now.'

He added: 'Even after all the frustrations they still continue to support and contribute to the school and the magnificent atmosphere we have here. Everyone at Hedgestown now just wants the support and commitment of the other parties involved to deliver to the children the facilities they deserve and need.


Education Minister urged to give explanation for delays

Education Minister Richard Bruton has been urged to give an explanation behind the ongoing delay in providing the new school at Hedgestown.

Chairperson of the school's parents association Daniela O'Brien said they couldn't understand what was holding up the project. She said: 'We would like a proper answer from the Department of Education and Mr. Burton. Why can't our children have up to date classrooms with all the necessities for a proper and enjoyable education?'

'I have three children who have been attending Hedgestown NS. This year is the last year for my youngest child. All my children were promised a new school but no luck.

'I hope that this will show the Department and our Government how slowly it has moved and how frustrating it has been.'

She said that planning permission was in place for the new school and the land had been purchased by the parish at a considerable cost. Ms O'Brien said that they had told previously that the architect had left his job and that the department was looking for a new one.

'The previous architect left about year ago, surely that is enough time to find a replacement.'

Chairperson of the Board of Management Liam Fitzgerald said: 'In 1858 a group of local families came together with the intention of setting up a school for their children. In 1945 a purpose school was built. It was built as a one teacher school. 

'Today the school has several teachers and Special Needs Assistants to cater for approximately 90 pupils. 

'It is very unfortunate that the community, parents and teachers and especially the children have come and gone from their school without the comfort of their new school. Today the pupils and staff of Hedgestown National School are still waiting for their new school so that the can learn, teach, play and grow in a comfortable and modern school building.

'In 1996 an application was made to the Department of Education to modernise the school. 

'We are delighted to announce that an eight classroom school has been sanctioned. However this was sanctioned many years ago and the pupils are still waiting for their eight classroom school.'

Fingal Independent